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MT 27 March 2016

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maltatoday, SUNDAY, 27 MARCH 2016 38 This Week IN CINEMAS TODAY Embassy Cinemas Valletta Tel. 21 227436, 21 245818 Batman VS Superman – Dawn Of Justice 3D (12) 10:30, 14:15, 18:00, 21:10 Risen (12) 10:15, 13:30, 16:00, 18:30, 21:10 Kung Fu Panda 3 3D (U) 10:00, 12:10, 14:20, 16:30, 18:40, 20:55 Deadpool (15) 16:10, 18:30, 20:50 London has Fallen (12) 10:00, 12:15, 14:30, 16:45, 19:00, 21:15 The Brothers Grimsby (15) 10:00, 12:10, 14:20, 16:30, 18:40, 20:50 Eden Cinemas St Julian's Tel. 23 710400 Kung Fu Panda 3 (U) 11:30 (3D), 14:15, 16:20, 18:35, 20:50 Risen (12) 11:35, 14:05, 16:20, 18:40, 21:00, 23:20 Deadpool (15) 14:05, 16:20, 18:40, 20:30, 21:05, 23:35 Zootropolis (U) 11:40, 13:45 (3D), 16:15 (3D), 18:45 (3D), 21:10 (3D) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (12) 11:45, 14:00, 16:20, 17:30, 19:45, 21:00, 23:00 How to Be Single (15) 14:05, 16:25, 18:45, 21:05, 23:05 Grimsby (15) 14:25, 16:25, 18:40, 20:55, 23:15 Point Break (12) 14:05, 16:30, 18:50, 21:10 Dirty Grandpa (18) 14:05, 16:15, 18:30, 20:45 London has Fallen (15) 11:40, 14:00, 16:10, 18:25, 20:55, 23:10 Fifty Shades of Black (15) 14:20, 16:30, 18:50, 21:15, 23:25 Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip (U) 11:50 Boris Godunov (PG) 15:00 Chiamatemi Francesco (PG) 12:00, 14:15, 16:30, 18:50, 21:00 Chronic (15) 14:20, 18:50 The President 16:25, 20:55 Empire Cinemas Bugibba Tel. 21 581787, 21 581909 Zootropolis 3D (U) 11:05, 13:40, 16:00, 18:20, 20:45 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 3D (12) 10:55, 14:00, 17:55, 21:00 Kung Fu Panda 3 (U) 11:00, 13:40, 15:55, 18:10, 20:50 (3D) London Has Fallen (15) 10:45, 13:30, 16:00, 18:15, 20:55 Grimsby (15) 10:55, 14:00, 16:05, 18:05, 21:00 Deadpool (15) 10:50, 13:20, 15:40, 18:05, 21:05 Kung Fu Panda 3 3D (U) 11:00, 13:40, 15:55, 18:10, 20:45 Risen (12) 10:45, 13:30, 16:00, 18:20, 20:45 SORRY, dear readers: I won't be giving you an assessment of something that you can tuck into on our shores this week. But I do hope that you can appreciate me bringing you something of an ex- clusive instead. During a recent trip to Rome, I've had the pleas- ure of experiencing what seems to be our neighbouring country's very first superhero movie. And given that it's a sleek pastiche that could very easily court inter- national attention, you can take some comfort in the fact that, once the film finally reaches Mal- ta, you've heard all about it here first. Lo Chiamavono Jeeg Robot ('They Call Me Jeeg Robot'), directed by Gabriele Mainetti and released in Italy last month, doesn't just riff on the superhero thing – it also re-heats Italy's ob- session with Japanese anime… an obsession which crossed over to Malta during the 90s, as anyone from my generation will tell you. Penned with pulpy panache by screenwriter Nicola Guaglianone and Italian comic book scribe Menotti, the story hits the sweet spot of what I will dub the three holy Cs: clever, confident and compact. When a two-bit crook, Enzo (Claudio Santamaria) plunges in- to the Tiber River to escape being pursued by the police, he emerges drenched in radioactive waste. As per superhero tradition, this grants him extraordinary pow- ers… whose provenance he how- ever only discovers the hard way. Sent to accompany a colleague on what is apparently a straight- forward drug mule pickup, Enzo is caught in the crossfire when it all goes awry... but a nine-storey plunge leaves him merely bruised instead of stone cold dead. Returning home to his frozen yogurt and pornography, Enzo gives nary a thought to his new- found powers, save for a hilari- ously botched attempt at petty theft. But when his late partner's psychologically damaged daugh- ter Alessia (Ilenia Pastorelli) en- ters into Enzo's life demanding to know why her father hasn't come back home yet, she also provokes the ire of ambitious young gang leader Fabio 'Lo Zingaro' Canniz- zaro (Luca Marinelli). A victim of sexual abuse, Alessia is stuck with the mental age of 12, and her only respite appears to be immersing herself in the 1970s 'Steel Jeeg' anime, ultimately de- ciding that the super-powered Enzo is the giant robot's embodi- ment in real life – her cartoon hero-deity made flesh. 'Lo Zin- garo', on the other hand, tasted his 15 minutes of fame as a one- time singer on 'Buona Domenica' in his twenties, and doesn't make much of a distinction between being a TV star on talent shows and being a feared-and-respected gangster on the streets of Rome. It's these touches of dark hu- mour and/or light satire that place 'Jeeg' into a particular cate- gory of superhero films: it's less of a mainstream Marvel/DC bonan- za and more of a gritty, postmod- ern take on the genre in the vein of Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass and James Gunn's Super (both 2010). As in the case of these films, Mainetti feature-length de- but shies away from neither vio- lence nor salty language (salted further by being fully immersed in both Roman and Neapolitan dialect – the latter coming into play when Lo Zingaro is forced to make good on his promises to mozzarella-chomping collabora- tors). It also resembles the abovemen- tioned classics of the 'everyman superhero' sub-genre in the ease with which it handles its refer- ences, tropes and stereotypes: not only are we given a superhero story via the semi-parodic – i.e., Toxic Avenger-like – premise, but the Italians' intimate famili- arity with anime is also brought to the fore, making for a collage that feels fun and natural when it could have come across as a try- hard attempt to capture as wide a demographic as possible. And in fact, unlike the DC Com- ics superheroes, who occupy and protect generic catch-all cities like Metropolis and Gotham, as well as the overly-familiar post- card version of New York in which Marvel's heroes are often set in, Mainetti places his char- acters in a firmly lived-in Rome, giving us a glimpse of its slum ar- eas – most notably the Tor Bella Monaca – along with the more picturesque sights we're familiar with from countless films that employ Rome as a location – such as the 'Lungotevere', where the crucial radioactivity incident oc- curs, and which was also seen (in a very different aesthetic context) during last year's SPECTRE, play- ing host to a thrilling car chase between Craig's Bond and Dave Bautista's Mr Hinx. It also crams in more story than you might expect. While it cleaves closer to the two- than three-hour mark of the average contemporary superhero 'epic', what I would have sworn would be the coda ended up morphing into the third act: 'Jeeg' is confi- dent, but not over-confident to the point that a sequel can be bla- tantly teased at so early on. But hopefully, with interna- tional audiences getting a chance to experience this wild labour of love, that may be on the cards af- ter all. By Teodor Reljic Impressive Roman heroics ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ STEEL JEEG ★ ★ ★ ★ GYPSY DANGER ★ ★ ★ GIANT ROBOT ★ ★ STEEL MAGNOLIAS ★ RUST BUCKET FILM Parklife: Claudio Santamaria is a crook turned reluctant superhero in this Italian take on the caped crusaders genre that's destined for cult stardom THEY CALL ME JEEG (TBA) ★ ★ ★ ★

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